Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Why Do Social Democrats Retrench the Welfare State? A Simulation

Contents:

Author Info

Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Why do social democrats retrench the welfare state? Next to violating core social democratic principles, recent studies show that social democratic parties - and not so much other parties - are systematically punished after retrenchment by (severe) vote losses. We propose and show that the strategy a party employs - policy-seeking, office-seeking or vote-seeking - is crucial for explaining why and when social democrats retrench, because it influences how they respond to environmental incentives (economy, public opinion, activist opinion and opposition strategy). The intra-party balance of power determines which strategy a party employs. We simulate an agent-based model to examine the implications of the different party strategies for the behavior of social democrats regarding welfare state retrenchment. This model includes 1) agents (here: parties) with specific decision heuristics that operationalize the different strategies, 2) voters who use a proximity-rule and 3) a coalition formation model. To mimic reality as much as possible, we calibrate the model with real economic data, whereby these data affect voters' policy preferences. We find that social democrats with a vote-seeking strategy retrench when inflation pushes the mean voter to the right. Office-seeking social democrats behave similarly, but respond with a strong time lag to the economy and to public opinion. Policy-seeking social democrats do not retrench. Moreover, we find that when faced with a radical left-wing competitor, social democrats shift towards the centre - irrespective of their strategy -, increasing the likelihood that social democrats retrench. An empirical illustration of the behavior of five social democratic parties corroborates the simulations' results. To the welfare state literature, we offer a dynamic model that predicts under which conditions social democrats engage in welfare state retrenchment. To the literature on simulations, we offer an application of a model that makes predictions for a specific policy field, using real economic data and party decision rules.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/15/3/4/4.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation in its journal Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation.

    Volume (Year): 15 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 4

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:jas:jasssj:2011-75-3

    Contact details of provider:

    Related research

    Keywords: Welfare State Retrenchment; Political Parties; Cabinets; Decision-Making;

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Patrick Lunz, 2013. "What's left of the left? Partisanship and the political economy of labour market reform: why has the social democratic party in Germany liberalised labour markets?," Europe in Question Discussion Paper Series of the London School of Economics (LEQs) 5, London School of Economics / European Institute.

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:jas:jasssj:2011-75-3. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Nigel Gilbert).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.